Two women died in Edapalayam near Ranipet, after a 45- year-old mentally-ill man set fire to one of the deceased’s house during the early hours of Sunday.
Chellammal (55), a widow, and her neighbour Govindammal (45), who was living with her partner, Mani, in Edapalayam, were killed in the fire accident.
Chellammal was asleep in Govindammal’s hut on the ill-fated night, as Mani had not yet returned from work, the police said.
The two women were found dead inside the hut, which was found locked from outside, said Inspector of Police of Ranipet Station and Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, Nagaraj.
The police have ruled out the possibility of an accident and stated that it was a clear case of murder as the hut was locked from outside.
Preliminary inquiry showed that Velu, a teacher in a private school who was declared mentally-ill three years ago, was found sitting inside Chellammal’s house, which was opposite to Govindammal’s house, with a match box in his hands.
On seeing the fire, a group of villagers rushed to the spot, caught Velu and handed him over to the police.
Velu, a father of two, was admitted to the Institute of Mental Health, Kilpauk, Chennai by his family for rehabilitation two months ago. His wife and two children were living in Mullipatti in Tiruvannamalai district, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Lavanya.
Police arrested Velu and registered a case under section 302 of IPC and produced him before Judicial Magistrate of Walajapet. The magistrate then directed the police to keep him under judicial custody for a day.